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The Ironforge clan was apparently the original dwarven clan that evolved from the earthen and inhabited Ironforge. At some point, it split into three clans including the Bronzebeard clan, the Wildhammer clan, and the Dark Iron clan. It was ruled by High King Modimus Anvilmar who had closest ties to the Bronzebeard clan by blood and history. The three clans were ruled by the thanes Madoran Bronzebeard, Khardros Wildhammer, and the sorcerer-thane Thaurissan.
The Ironforge clan ruled peacefully until about 300 years ago when the clan divided into the three clans. The Wildhammers wanted to open up trade and negotiations with high elves, which at the time was considered taboo. They also wanted more positions within the city of Ironforge. The Dark Irons practiced arcane sorcery, a black art that threatened to bring destruction upon the dwarven people. Eventually, of their own volition, the clans ended up living in different areas. The Bronzebeard clan remained within Ironforge, while the Wildhammer clan lived outside the city and the Dark Iron clan to dwelt beneath it. However, all the clans desired control of Ironforge. The death of Modimus Anvilmar was the end of the tenuous peace.
The Bronzebeard clan would not tolerate the indiscretions of the other two clans and exiled them after a short, fierce battle. Some of the dwarves left to join the other two clans and changed their names, such as Rumholt Thunderaxe's two ancestors who joined the Dark Iron clan and took on the surname "Pikesplitter".
When the Dark Iron clan turned on the other two dwarven factions, the last of the Ironforge clan, the Bronzebeard clan, joined with the Wildhammer clan to prevent and repel the assault. They were able to drive the Dark Iron clan back into the Redridge Mountains. Much of all three of the clans' armies were destroyed when the Dark Irons released Ragnaros.